Corporate bloggers use commodity technology to communicate their companies’ messages. The advantage seems to come from the content itself, because that’s where individual expertise, institutional knowledge and products and tools can be brought to bear. So, this is where corporate bloggers find their attention focused. After all, what else is there?
Though I hate the expression “best practices,” the corporate blogging space is suffering from an acute shortage of them. From pushing out content via Twitter to tagging and linking, there is no widely accepted standard for getting the most out of a corporate blog using kickass blogging techniques. Well, I’m going to try to change that … and I’d love to get some ideas from other bloggers. I’ll get the process started with my top recommendation: sharpen your memory.
A corporate blogger needs to look at ever post as an item of value, which is usually expressed in pageviews. The more you get, the better you’re doing. Unfortunately, most corporate bloggers act like they only get one bite at the apple. The story goes up on the blog, it gets some traffic and it falls off the radar. After that, you score some incremental value when readers find it via search engines, but that’s about it.
Blogging this way means accepting a missed opportunity with nearly every story. There are many ways to get more value out of each of your blog posts. The best is to remember what you’ve written and link back to the old from the new regularly.
At my last corporate blogging gig, I figured out how to make this work. During a busy week (traffic-wise), I was posting a story and saw a reference to a concept I’d covered almost exactly a year earlier. So, I threw in a link. As a result, I was able to extend the current week’s traffic and at the same time get more use out of a story that was a year old.
Essentially, this was free impact.
The money on the old story had already been spent. We’d gotten our return and moved on. But, that simple, targeted link back got us a bit more value for virtually no incremental investment.
So far, it’s still abstract. Let’s look at some numbers. Assume you wrote a story a year ago and got 1,000 pageviews on it. That’s the initial return on your investment in the story. Now, let’s assume that last week, you posted another story where a link back to the old one made sense (once you have enough content, you’ll always be able to find something to link back to). So, you linked, and the old story picked up another 100 pageviews. You just increased the value of your old story by 10 percent. If you could easily grab an extra 10 percent return on your investment, why wouldn’t you?
Keep in mind that, in theory, your traffic should grow over time. Your new readers may not know what you published a year ago. This practice helps you acquaint them with your archive, which can lead to more exploration, more pageviews and a greater return on the effort you’ve expended.
Memory is crucial to this. You have to remember what you’ve written in order to affect these targeted links back.
1. Stay close to your content
The best way to do this is to post your own content, and format it yourself – don’t dish it off to a junior guy or an assistant. It’s tedious work, but you’ll get to know your content better, which will make it easier to remember. Read your corporate blog regularly, especially if you aren’t the only contributor, even if it means covering old turf. Burn the headlines into your mind.
2. Dig into the numbers
As you navigate your analytics platform, check to see which stories perform – and which don’t. In addition to the basic intelligence you’ll gather, you’ll increase the amount of stories you remember, and you’ll be able to link back to them later. Hot stories will be easy to keep in mind. Those that didn’t get much traffic … well, linking back to them regularly over time should change that.
3. Run “top stories” lists
Every week, month and quarter, run a list of top stories for the period. Of course, this will tease out more pageviews. But, it will put you in front of older stories more, and you’ll remember them. It’ll also put you into the analytics platform more often, reinforcing the benefits of #2 above.
You can also run off-cycle top stories lists. Every now and then, compose a list of top stories for a particular topic – this is great stuff for days when you don’t have enough content or on weekends to see if you can extract a bit more love from the workaholics.
4. Search your editorial calendar
When you’re posting a new story, search your editorial calendar for related keywords. This will bring your attention to some stories you wouldn’t remember otherwise.
5. Stick with the good stuff
Not every post is worth revisiting. Some are filler, while others are designed for impact. Remember the latter, and don’t worry about the filler so much. Directing readers back to older pieces they’d like but may not know about will increase loyalty and may squeeze out more pageviews per visit.
The best corporate blogging tool at your disposal isn’t technological, and it’s not specifically derived from content. It’s you. Know your content. Commit to remembering it. Then, use your memory to make it as valuable as possible. You’ll become more productive – literally – without having to work harder.